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MLB Trade Rumors and News: The fight for D.J. LeMahieu continues

The stove is cranking just weeks before pitchers and catcher report.

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Division Series - New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Five Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The MLB Daily Dish is a daily feature we’re running here at MLBDD that rounds up roster-impacting news, rumors, and analysis. Have feedback or have something that should be the shared? Hit us up at @mlbdailydish on Twitter or @MLBDailyDish on Instagram.

  • The Nationals to sign Kyle Schwarber to a one-year, $10M deal, per report. The former first-round draft pick for the Cubs is slashing a career .230/.336/.480 over 551 games.
  • The Yankees have reached a impasse with D.J. LeMahieu, and he’s looking to sow his wild oats elsewhere, reports Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown. That includes all the clubs who checked in on him in the beginning of the season, namely the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Mets. According to Brown, LeMahieu’s terms remain the same. The 32-year old is after at least a 5-year, $110M deal. The Yankees and LeMahieu allegedly were in disagreement over salary, with New York offering $25M less than asked. More details on the All-Star’s situation will be coming out this week as he virtually meets with teams.
  • Well the Mets got everyone’s attention yesterday to be sure. Ever since Steve Cohen bought the Mets from the Wilpons, fans have been waiting for the team to make the big splash that Cohen had promised. They did just that yesterday as they pulled off a huge trade with the Indians to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. It doesn’t sound like the Mets are done, either.
  • The events at the Capitol are still fresh on all of our minds and you are definitely forgiven if you weren’t paying attention to baseball transactions. However, we did have a move as the Yankees acquired Greg Allen, who had been DFAed last week, from the Padres. Allen, who is very strong defensively in the outfield and...less strong offensively, didn’t have a spot with the Padres as they continue their roster overhaul, so we will see how the Yankees utilize him with all of the big bats in their outfield.
  • Blake Treinen went from being perhaps the best reliever in the majors and receiving Cy Young votes in 2018 to struggling and getting non-tendered by the A’s in 2019. Last year, the Dodgers took a $10 million gamble on the former All-Star reliever, and it paid off in a big way as he bounced back and helped them win their first World Series in 32 years. LA brought him back for more on Tuesday, signing the right-hander to a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $17.5 million, with an $8 million club option or $1.5 million buyout for 2023.
  • Outfielder Robbie Grossman, a switch-hitter with a penchant for drawing walks, had a career year in 2020, hitting .241/.344/.482 with eight homers in 192 plate appearances. He was rewarded for that shortened-season success on Tuesday, agreeing to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Tigers that includes incentives based on playing time. It’s the first multi-year signing the Tigers have made since the beginning of the 2016 season.
  • As MLB looks to increase social distancing in spring training this year (and perhaps boost the chances of minor-league teams beginning the season with fans in the stands), minor-leaguers slated to begin the season in any level besides Triple-A will wait to report to camp until after major-leaguers and Triple-A players have departed. Under that timeline, the Double-A and A-ball seasons likely won’t begin until May at the earliest.
  • Japanese right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano, who was viewed by some as the second-best free-agent starting pitcher behind Trevor Bauer, may be leaning toward a return to Japan because of his dissatisfaction with the market this winter, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
  • Yasiel Puig was all set to join the Atlanta Braves last season before a COVID-19 diagnosis derailed that deal and ultimately derailed his entire 2020 season. However, not playing last season doesn’t seem to be detouring teams too much, as several teams including the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros are looking at signing him.
  • Every team could use at least one or two quality relievers, and one of the best relievers on the market, Liam Hendriks, seems to be a hot commodity. The stud righty reliever is reportedly visiting the Blue Jays and has seen interest from the Dodgers and White Sox as well.
  • In the time of COVID-19, nothing is written in stone. However, it looks like this season is pacing to start on time, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports. MLB and the MLBPA have both announced their plans to stick to the original CBA, which includes a start to spring training that is on track to have a regularly scheduled Opening Day. Of course, this is music to the ears of so many, but could very well be a pipe dream depending on how the number of cases are progressing and if the vaccine has become available to the general public yet. Even if the season runs the full 162 games, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see jam packed stadiums, much to the chagrin of team owners.
  • Phil Hughes has announced his retirement via Twitter, which also simultaneously confirms that, no, he was not already retired. His last major league appearance was in 2018 with the San Diego Padres, where he was mostly pitching out of the bullpen. Now he’ll have all that extra free time to be a Twitter Personality.
  • MLB is adding extra pressure and stress to the already stretched-thin MiLB, demanding teams sign nondisclosure and indemnification agreements.
  • We may be nearing the end of the George Springer sweepstakes, which may be the biggest domino that needs to fall to help free up the free agent market. According to some reporting from the New York Daily News, it appears as though the bidding may be down to the Mets and the Blue Jays. The Mets being involved is hardly a surprise given that Steve Cohen is looking to make a splash, but the Blue Jays have a very interesting young team that is on the upswing.
  • The Phillies need to rebuild their bullpen in the worst way this offseason after their relief corps posted a dreadful 7.06 ERA in 2020, and they took an initial stab at doing so by acquiring lefty José Alvarado in a three-way deal with the Rays and Dodgers. Alvarado, a flamethrowing 25-year-old, was one of the best relievers in baseball for Tampa in 2018, posting a 2.39 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 70 relief appearances. Since then, however, he has a 5.08 ERA and 1.82 WHIP over 44 games, dealing with oblique, elbow, and shoulder injuries over that span. Lefty relief prospect Garrett Cleavinger heads from Philly to LA, while first base prospect Dillon Paulson and a player to be named later are headed to the Rays.
  • If you weren’t already convinced that the Padres were going to be a force to contend with in 2021, you probably are now after a frantic 24-36 hours from San Diego. After swinging a deal for Blake Snell late on a Sunday night they swung a deal to land Yu Darvish from the Cubs less than 24 hours later in a move that has reshaped the NL Central and NL West division races. The West looks like it could be really tough race between the Dodgers and Padres while the Central looks... well, like a division that no one wants to really try and win.
  • In addition to their forays into the trade market, the Padres also made a splash on the international market as they landed the top South Korean bat on the market, Ha-seong Kim. The acquisition of Kim does lead to some roster/playing time questions, but the good kind where the team has a lot of good bats to choose from.
  • The Padres have acquired southpaw Blake Snell from Rays. In exchange for the 28-year old, San Diego will be sending a prospect laden package of Luis Patiño, Cole Wilcox, Francisco Mejía and Blake Hunt to Tampa Bay. Patiño is the Padres No. 3 prospect, as well as the No. 23 prospect in the MLB Pipeline.
  • The Pirates have traded Josh Bell to the Nationals. This was a great opportunity for the Nationals, a low-risk/high-reward deal that could put some spark back into the team. After a season that stands as the second biggest disaster in Washington in 2020, the Nationals are in flux with their main core of players. Adding a veteran slugger presence for the price of mid-level pitching is the right direction for the Nationals. Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe, the pitching prospects of mention, will be heading to Pittsburgh as the other half of this deal.
  • The White Sox are set to sign 23-year-old outfielder Yoelqui Céspedes, a Cuban defector who is the half-brother of longtime major-leaguer Yoenis Céspedes, to a deal with a bonus of near $2 million, reports’s Jesse Sanchez. Céspedes is ranked as the top international prospect in the world by MLB Pipeline.
  • Howie Kendrick never really formed into a full-fledged star in baseball, but he was highly valued around the league as an important supporting piece on competing teams. Towards the end of his career, the Dodgers and Nationals sought him out with the Nationals getting the biggest reward thanks to a strong postseason performance from Kendrick that helped Washington clinch a World Series title. Kendrick recently decided to retire from baseball after 15 seasons. While the shortened season gave Howie a bit of pause as to whether he truly wanted to hang up his cleats, it sounds like sticking with his initial impulse was the correct one. Enjoy retirement, Howie... you have earned it.
  • The Rays had themselves quite the run in 2020 all the way to the World Series and they are bringing back a familiar face from that run as Mike Zunino is returning on a one year deal with an option for 2022. Zunino’s option will depend on how much playing time he ends up getting next year and, given that he had a pretty bad 2020 season, that is very much up in the air. However, Zunino does have power upside at the plate and the Rays are very light on catching options at the moment, but for $3 million...they could probably do worse.
  • The Giants continued to make sneaky interesting signings when they signed Anthony DeSclafani to a one year deal. For $6 million, the Giants get a pitcher who has had a lot of promise, but has been hampered by injuries and the fact that he has had to play in the Reds’ home ballpark/band box. 2020 was a down year for him, so this is the Giants buying low on a guy that could turn into an asset if they can keep him healthy and get him back to the form he had a few years ago.
  • Jerry Dipoto is back at it again. The Mariners GM, well known for his willingness to make a trade with any team at any time, made his first deal of the offseason, acquiring closer Rafael Montero from the Rangers in exchange for 17-year-old pitching prospect Jose Corniell and a player to be named later. Montero, who spent his first four seasons as a swingman for the Mets, has broken out over two seasons as a full-time reliever for the Rangers, posting a 3.09 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 11 walks and eight saves in 46.2 innings between 2019-20.
  • At least a few MLB owners believe the start of next year’s spring training should be delayed until after players and team personnel receive the COVID-19 vaccine, per USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. It should be interesting to see how heated this debate gets between ownership and players, who almost certainly will see this stance as another ploy by the league to cut salaries for a second straight season.
  • Cleveland’s professional baseball club has been moving towards a complete rebranding for quite a while now. After ditching its retro logo designs that were less than enlightened as well as getting rid of the Chief Wahoo mascot in recent years, the team has now made the move to remove ‘Indians’ from their name altogether. Interestingly, there is no word yet as to what the new team name will be, so its probably best to reserve total judgment until we know what we are going to be calling the team.
  • The Mets have signed catcher James McCann to a four-year deal. The Mets are looking to ride the offensive wave that McCann rode in on last season: a healthy slash line of .289/.360/.536 over 111 plate appearances. He’ll be the new starting catcher for the Mets, and hopefully for their sake can provide some much needed consistency behind the plate.
  • A new slugger needs a new general manager to play under. The Mets have hired Jared Porter as their new GM, per MLB Insider Jon Heyman via Twitter. The former Arizona Diamondbacks assistant GM had his name tossed around in various general manager searches this offseason. Before his position with the Diamondbacks, he was the director of professional scouting for the Cubs for two seasons and held that same title with the Red Soxfor three years. The contract will keep Porter in Queens for four years, working closely with Sandy Alderson to tighten up the club’s baseball operations department.
  • The Phillies have hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, letting the league know that they’re still here to compete. It will be interesting to see what Dombrowski will do with a team that is already running on empty when it comes to top prospects.
  • One of the more under the radar baseball stories from 2020 has been the lack of an agreement between MiLB and MLB regarding the relationship between the two as well as which teams were actually going to be a part of the league’s talent development pipeline. We already knew that there was going to be a culling and some of that was previewed with the composition of some independent leagues and the draft league including some former minor league affiliates. However, the league finally sent invitations out to 119 minor league clubs which, when it is all said and done, will be a significant reduction in minor league teams over what we saw in 2019.
  • Adam Eaton had a terrible 2020 season, posting a career-worst .226/.285/.384 slash line with -6 defensive runs saved in right field for the Nationals. But it wasn’t that long ago that he was a hot commodity — it was just four winters ago that the White Sox shipped him off to Washington in exchange for three upper echelon pitching prospects, most notably Lucas Giolito. Four years later, his former team will pay a healthy price to see if the 32-year-old outfielder has anything left in the tank, as the White Sox signed Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract with an $8.5 million club option and $1 million buyout for 2022.
  • The Royals have been the most active team on the free agent market so far this offseason, re-signing reliever Greg Holland while also signing outfielder Michael A. Taylor, lefty Mike Minor, and first baseman Carlos Santana, who inked a two-year, $17 million deal with Kansas City. Santana, who turns 35 in April, has spent 10 of his 11 major-league seasons with the Indians and has tortured the Royals over the years, posting a .953 OPS in 663 plate appearances against Kansas City with a 1.077 OPS in 334 PAs at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals will hope Santana can recreate that same magic now that The K is his home ballpark.
  • 28-year-old right-hander Matt Wisler was largely considered a failed prospect heading into the 2020 season, but after altering his approach, scrapping his curveball and changeup and switching to throwing almost exclusively sliders, Wisler had a breakout season out of the Twins’ bullpen, posting a 1.07 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP over 25.1 innings. Minnesota obviously didn’t believe it was worth the cost to see if he could sustain his success, as they non-tendered him, but he quickly found a new home, signing a one-year, $1.15 million deal with the Giants.
  • While we did see some roster moves ahead of the non-tender deadline that we have already noted, the deadline itself is where we see the bulk of moves made and yesterday was no exception. While the non-tender deadline wasn’t quite as severe as some thought it would be, there was still a whole bunch of new free agents added to the pool. Our own Andersen Pickard put together a tracker with notes on both all of the guys non-tendered as well as those who did, in fact, end up getting tendered deals who were in limbo.
  • The Rangers announced that former catcher and Gold Glove third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa will take over as their starting shortstop in 2021. Elvis Andrus, the team’s starting shortstop for the last 12 seasons, will transition to a utility infielder role.
  • The Royals have been busy this offseason. After locking up Mike Minor to help solidify their rotation, Kansas City turned their attention to the outfield, signing Michael Taylor to a one year deal. While Taylor has been hit or miss on offense, he is a quality defender in the outfield... a quality that the Royals have historically valued highly.
  • While young starters Max Fried and Ian Anderson showed great hope for the future, one could argue that the Braves’ downfall in 2020 was the inconsistency in their rotation. They’ve made multiple moves to boost their starting pitching in 2021, first signing Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million deal, then bringing back old friend Charlie Morton on a one-year, $15 million contract. While Smyly and Morton both carry some level of risk, it’s hard to go wrong with one-year contracts, and if Smyly and Morton are at their best, the Braves’ rotation could return to being one of the strengths of the team next season.
  • There has been quite a bit of re-arranging across the league in terms of the leaderships of various front offices. That trend continued when the Brewers promoted Matt Arnold, who had served as the team’s assistant general manager, to the posts of senior vice president and general manager. Arnold had been a candidate for several top jobs around the league and the Brewers made sure that he wasn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
  • Mets second baseman Robinson Canó tested positive for a banned substance for the second time and has been suspended for the entire 2021 season as a result. His subsequent silence on the matter has been, well, deafening and telling.
  • After nine seasons as the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, including one that resulted in a drought-ending World Series victory, Theo Epstein stepped down and says he’s going to take a break from baseball (though that hasn’t stopped some from connecting him to the Mets and Phillies front office openings). He was replaced by his longtime right-hand man, Jed Hoyer, and the Cubs will have an opportunity to install another executive (perhaps one of their highly-regarded VPs, Jason McLeod or Dan Kantrovitz?) as GM if they so choose.
  • A time honored tradition each and every year is the release of the Hall of Fame ballot and having the internet shout about who is and who isn’t worthy of induction. That process began yet again last month as the 2021 ballot was released. With the list of newly eligible players being somewhat underwhelming, it will be interesting to see which players see a boost in their chances.